People. Stories. Football.
Goal Click are a global football storytelling and photography project sharing stories from the world of the beautiful game.
Here are four of their inspirational stories.
Sumaira Inayat is the co-Founder of the Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League, the first ever league for girls in the North of Pakistan.
Her photos and story come from the Passu Valley during the second season of the GBGFL, where most of the teams were competing for the first time and travelling from remote areas with little knowledge or experience in the game.
'GBGFL is a mission aimed at providing sports opportunities for girls alongside their education. The key point about this league is that it covers all the costs to provide girls a platform where they could play without any financial barriers.'
'To me football is a “life-changing gadget”. The people from my region have played football for a long time. Players can get full educational scholarships, which is a good thing. I believe that if the girls are provided better opportunities, nothing can stop them from achieving their goals.'
In Spring 2021 the Las Vegas Friendship Cup brought together diverse teams from across the USA. In collaboration with San Diego Soccer Women, Judi Works (73) and Shannon Siegel (55) documented their experiences before and during the tournament. Both Judi and Shannon live in California and play in women’s and mixed teams for older age groups.
'I think soccer is so important for the USA and its people because it unites us with the whole world. It helps that soccer is accessible in many ways that other sports may not be. You don't have to be a specific size or weight or have a certain physique to play soccer, or to play it well.'
Judi has been playing football for over 50 years, and Shannon since she was 9 or 10. Both still play, with Judi in her over 70’s team - The Sockers - and Shannon for a side in the Bay Area.
'Even though I am older now I feel good that I can still kick the ball and be outside having fun with my friends on the fields. Soccer is a way of being together as a community in both playing and watching, whether it be our children, grandchildren, or spouses’ games.'
Sam Mewis is a professional footballer who currently plays for Kansas City Current in the NWSL. In 2019, she told the story of how she and her USWNT teammates were preparing for the World Cup in France.
'My photos show that our lives are not super-glamorous all the time. I think that the USWNT can sometimes give off this notion that everything we do is super polished, but it really isn’t! We do have access to so many resources and are certainly in one of the most professional environments that I can imagine - but I tried to show some of the more realistic parts of our lives.'
'I think we’re in this really crucial time right now for women’s soccer where it’s not just the players who are supportive of creating change. I think that the world is starting to pay attention and listen. There is so much happening politically that the movement to create equal opportunity for everyone, everywhere, goes so much further than just sport. My hope is that we will continue to see companies and federations start to support their women as they support their men, whether that be financially or otherwise. I love that I’m seeing more women's football in the media and in ad campaigns and I think it speaks volumes to the potential of the game that big companies are seeing us as a good investment.'
Goal Click’s ongoing partnership with Refugees, helps to tell the story of football through the eyes and words of refugees across the world.
One of their storytellers, Khadija Ahmadi, plays for Team Birkenwiese - a team for refugee girls that plays once a week and takes part in regular friendly matches and tournaments
‘Through football and my new friends, I’ve been able to find myself again. When I say that, people may think that it’s an easy thing to say. But in my case, it was different. I didn’t know the language; I didn't know anyone. It’s as if you are being born as a baby again. I think you can only understand it if you’ve experienced it yourself.’
Another of their storytellers, Samuel Gedeon, plays for RIFA, a Brooklyn-based organisation using soccer to work with refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth and provide a space for connection with their peers in a safe and supportive environment.
'I tried to show how passion for soccer has brought immigrants from different countries together and created a community. Since they are from different countries they have learned something from each other, they start to think differently, and they are helping communities through social action projects.'